In a region where most villages are isolated, winter is definitely the favourite season of most. The season where you can actually travel – thanks to the frozen waterways – puts a warm feeling in many coasters stomachs.
The best part of winter for many people on the coast is the hockey tournaments. Every year, I get so excited when I know that the St. Augustine hockey tournament is coming. I’ll wake up in the morning on the Friday of the tournament and have my Raiders (our village’s hockey team) sweater already laid out on my “dresser”, and then I’ll do my morning routine, throw my jersey on and run off to school.
That day of school has to be the hardest one to get through because you just want it to end; I am constantly glancing at the clock! All you want to do is jump on your “ski-doo” and head to the arena! Then the clock finally turns to 3 o’clock and I head to my house which is located right on the edge of my hometown’s river and I go out on my patio to watch the “ski-doos” with “komatiks” in tow drive into the village. This is one of my favourite sights to see. Afterwards, proceeding a long day of eagerness and patience, I cruise up to the arena and await the hockey games to begin. The winters in my hockey crazed community was – and still is – a very important part of our culture and many people wouldn’t be able to live here without it.Many people in my town agree that winter is the best season and that is not only because of the hockey. The holiday season is also important in my village but not for the reasons you might think. Beginning with Christmas morning, with a 7 am rise my whole family runs out beside our Christmas tree to begin opening our presents but not before my mother takes about ten billion pictures! Then we open our gifts, clean up the mess, and around 11:30 we head to my grandmothers for a huge and delicious Christmas feast. After we have had our “fill to the gills”, we drive around on our snowmobiles, all dressed up, to do some visiting around town. Around 5 pm, we drive to my other grandmother’s house for Christmas supper and to socialize with cousins, aunts, and uncles, then the real fun begins. My parents – like many others in St. Augustine- go on a party on Christmas night. Knowing this, my friend (also my cousin) and I go to his house and play a bunch of games: Twister, board games, and cards. We also watch movies and sometimes we invite some of our friends to make the night even more amusing. So Christmas night is one of my favourites of the year and it is a shared sentiment among most kids in St. Augustine.
The holiday fun does not end there; the next day – Boxing Day – is also quite special. Boxing Day marks the start of the world junior hockey tournament and on this day Canada plays their first opponent of the tournament, and many of my relatives and parent’s friends gather at my aunt’s house (the same place I had just spent Christmas night) to watch the opening game. Since the roads in St. Augustine aren’t cleared, people are driving around on snowmobiles with long dresses on and no jackets to get to the gathering spot to watch the game. The roar that the house makes when Canada scores, is the kind of thing that I look forward to every year and the fact they we are all related and tight knit, gives us the pleasure of really expressing our excitement, which makes the day even more special. A night full of laughs and great snacks is one of my favourite traditions. These holiday season traditions are shared by many coasters and they reflect the little things that make the coast a special place to live.
Although winter may be the preferred season for many people in St. Augustine, we also definitely love our summers. The season when the ice on our river begins to melt and move is an enjoyable one for most. During summer, the favourite activity of our population is going to our cabins, which cuts us off from the technology for a change. These cabins range anywhere from 25 to 60 minutes outside of our small community. The island where my cabin is situated is named “Pagatchiou”. I absolutely love this place, and everything about it. From the beautiful views seen while driving around in my outboard boat to the smell of the saltwater – going to the cabin is one of my favourite parts of living in St. Augustine.
The activities you can do “out on the island” are endless; you can: pick berries, fish, go for exploratory walks, boat rides, have lunches on shorelines, and even swimming. Granted the water is incredibly cold and having salt water in your eyes is not friendly but salt water runs through our veins in St. Augustine. For myself, being at the cabin is extra special because my grandfather is a lobster fisherman and just hauling pots with him in the waves and learning about his way of life is just fascinating to say the least. From nature at its best, to the whole role it plays in coastal heritage, going to the cabin is an amazing part of the coast.
These stories are only touching on the unique culture and traditions of the coast. I am sure many coasters can relate to the stories I’ve shared and they would agree that the “Coast” is a wonderful place to live.
Jordan McKinnon, secondary 3
Mrs. Crystal’s ELA class, École St. Augustine School